End the War and Occupations -
Local 393 (United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters Vice President)
March 20, 2004
by Fred Hirsch
Sisters and Brothers, Friends and Comrades in the movement to end the war
and the occupations of the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and
Haiti - who yearn for freedom as we once did when we stood against
imperialism with force of arms and threw off occupation by revolution. We
then confronted King George III of the British Empire. We now face George
Bush II, pretender, through permanent war, to the throne of King of the
Two years ago, when George Bush started bombing Afghanistan, I spoke
against that oil pipeline war at a rally. As an individual, I expressed
the hope that one day my Union, Plumbers and Fitters Local 393, would talk
the talk and walk the walk against the war. That day is here.
On the so-called "war on terrorism," Our union said, the U.S. "has had the
support of almost the entire world." We urged that Bush "strengthen that
unity and not squander it by ... placing revenge before justice." Well,
he squandered it with a vengeance.
We called for "confronting hate speech and acts of discrimination or
violence against people of color, Muslims, Sikhs, Arabs or other immigrant
groups...(and) for resisting efforts to use (9/11) to curtail our civil
liberties or to erode Constitutional rights." Since then such racist acts
and profiling have been institutionalized under Bush by Ashcroft and the
new Department of Fatherland Security.
Local 393 said , "militarization and national security have been used to
justify interference with our rights to freedom of association, to
organize, to strike and to picket. We must continue to fight for social
justice and not allow those who oppose the goals of working families to use
this crisis as cover to assault or limit our economic or civil
rights." Since then Bossman Bush has shouted ³terrorism² to attack the
rights of workers at airports, on the docks, in federal employment and
against immigrant workers.
We urged "civil dialogue and respect for the right to dissent, toward...
national policies based on economic, political and social justice."
Instead, the Bush Barbarians gave us the Patriot Act and preemptive war, a
doctrine we once defeated when American G.I.s died by the thousands
fighting Hitlerıs armies. Today, if you listen carefully, you can hear,
echoing from the White House, the Nazi preemptive war policy of "Might
Our Union pleaded for "diplomacy and engagement within the United
Nations..(for) a world at peace...with human rights for all people."
Instead they mocked the U.N. in its own chambers with lies about weapons of
mass destruction, links between Iraq and Al Qaida, and imminent nuclear
danger. Lying in their teeth, the Bush-Cheney mob unleashed death and
destruction in a grab for Iraqi oil.
When that corporate grab was clear, our Union called for "a 100% excess
profits tax on all contracts dealing with U.S. military action...(and
rebuilding) ...in Iraq and elsewhere..." A great tax for all but the crony
capitalist cabal called the Bush Administration.
In Iraq, Bush uses Saddam Husseinıs labor law to trample the unions. They
attack union offices and arrest Iraqi workers who organize. 393 voted to
"call on the US occupation authority to immediately guarantee the right to
organize and bargain collectively...to prohibit child labor, and to
immediately halt the process of privatizing Iraqi workplaces and selling
off the property of the Iraqi people." We demanded a Congressional
investigation of the "illegal sale and privatization" of the patrimony of
the people of Iraq.
Bush union busters, do to the workers of Iraq exactly what they would do to
us, but for organized laborıs power and the millions who protest Bushıs
schemes of empire and deceit.
Today, our Union, along with the South Bay Labor Council endorses this
rally. We voted to ³call for an end to the US occupation of Iraq and
return of our troops to their homes and families so that Iraq can be
governed by its own people.²
Local 393 knows how to work the phone banks and walk the precincts to win
at the ballot box. Ninety-one of us did that in this last election. Weıve
done it many times and weıll do it in the fall. Our union members need
unity. We need each one of you to work with us through the Labor Council,
talking to voters in the precincts and on the phones. Together, and only
together, we can give George Bush and his Washington Warlords an
historically decisive and thunderous defeat.
I personally believe that, if the Bush Barbarians win in November, a
fascist future will be on their agenda. We canıt let that happen. We owe
it to our families to unseat Bush! We owe it to workers everywhere - to
the people of the world - to the future of the planet! We owe it to the
Stop the war! Stop the occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and now
Haiti! Bring home the troops!. Unite to work to end the Bush Dynasty of
death and destruction!
Can we do it? Yes we can! With the commitment of every woman and man! In
unity! Unity! Unity!